Ephesians 5:21-33: Be Subject

Ok, you gotta love a bible study that finds it's illustration in The West Wing, right?

There's a lovely scene somewhere around the third season where the President and the First Lady are coming home from church. In the midst of their sometimes rocky marriage, the couple is fighting over the sermon given in Church that morning. It was based on our scripture from this morning.

The First Lady, known as an open and passionate Feminist, is arguing that men need to love their wives and give themselves up for their ladies, and thus the President should be submissive to her. The President, having a little bit of fun, tosses back that wives must submit to their husbands, and that she should be submissive to him. They go back and forth for a little bit, before the President launches into his own mini sermon about what the passage is really about.

You would think that clip would be on YouTube. It's not. They had this, which was equally as funny but nowhere near related to the point:

The point in the President's eyes (and mine too) is not who should be submissive to whom. The point is that we need to be subject to one another. Paul uses different words to emphasis very similar points here, that in a Christian household, we shouldn't be looking out for our own interests, but rather should be looking out for the interests of our spouse. Sarah and I work very hard on this with some of our language. A friend of ours taught us that we shouldn't use the phrase "You are mine" but rather offer up "I am yours." It might seem like a subtle little difference, but honestly it has meant a world of difference in more than a few situations.

Now the obvious surface point you could pull from this for youth ministry is that we need to teach kids how best to handle themselves not only in marriage but in their dating endeavors. But I mean, come on, that's a little bit too easy for a Tuesday night, don't you think?

What if we looked at it with this question: How often are you subject to your students?

I had a neat experience today. I was taking out the garbage when a group of our students drove by. They're on spring break, and told me the wanted to come by and find where I lived. I actually thought it was pretty awesome (though under no circumstances want them just randomly showing up all the time. Sometimes I'm in my delicates!). We sat on the porch and talked for a bit before they left, but I found myself playing the host for them. Offering drinks, snacks, etc. In essence, I was being subject to them.

But what about when we see them at the church? What about at youth group? What about when we come to their school? When we make our plans for our ministry, are they plans that benefit us or are they plans that say "We're here to serve you in Christ?" Again, it might seem like a small difference, but I bet it can make all the difference.

Tomorrow we'll pick up 6:1-9